Royal Gunpowder Mills

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Set in 170 acres of natural parkland and boasting 20 buildings of major historic importance, the site mixes fascinating history, exciting science and beautiful surroundings to produce a magical day out for all the family. Established in the 17th century and acquired by the Crown in 1787, the Royal Gunpowder Mills has a very important place in both the history of Great Britain and of its home town of Waltham Abbey.

Venue Type:

Science centre, Museum

Opening hours

Please see website for details.

Admission charges

Please see website for details.


  • English Heritage
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
a photograph showing he contents of a 1940s shop

1940s Exhibition

  • 1 January 0200 — 1 January 2020 *on now

Explore war-time life with reconstructions from the 1940s. Experience the sights and sounds as you step inside an Anderson air-raid shelter, peek into a war-time kitchen, and toy shop, and browse in a 1940s general store.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Prof Nitrate In The Mad Lab

Spring Into Easter

  • 1 — 17 April 2017

Easter School Holidays explode with fun daily at this all-weather, all-day venue. Science shows with Professor Nitrate set the scene with crashes, bangs and booms in the Mad Lab.

Don’t expect sanity as families go on to the Yolk Zone to explore the science of Bouncy Eggs, Non-Newtonian Fluid and get creative with Gooey Fried Eggs! Unique fun and madness suitable for children 3 all the way up.

There are fantastic take-home crafts too, making Bunny Ears, Easter Cards, designing a Chalkboard Egg, making Puppets and making and launching rockets.

From Good Friday to Easter Monday there's a fantastic outdoor easter science show (weather permitting). On Easter Sunday and Easter Monday we have the excitement of Pygmy Goats and Ducklings children can get close up to and handle, and the Easter Bunny makes appearances throughout the day helping children with the Easter Egg Hunt around this historic site.

Our interactive exhibition, a short film about gunpowder, a spectacular Armoury and 1940’s exhibitions are all in your price. A nominal charge is made for the Land train Tour with a guide explaining the amazing 170-acre site, packed full of history and nature, and a small charge for a t-shirt to print up in your very own design. Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence and a lovely, affordable Café. Enjoy!

Tickets can be purchased on the day or book online at

*Activities are subject to change, check website for details

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 7-10
  • 5-6
  • 11-13


£10.50 - Adults
£9.00 - Con
£8.50 - Children


Drive It Day 2017

Drive It Day 2017

  • 23 April 2017 10am-3pm

The Royal Gunpowder Mills is excited to be the Finishing Point for classic cars Saturday April 23rd, when the ‘Charity Classic Vehicle Club & Chelmer Valley Car Meet’ holds their Drive It Day 2017 rally.
Celebrating National Drive It Day, around 300 cars are booked to set off from the RHS Gardens at Hyde Hall taking a route through Essex, culminating here at the Mills. Arriving and leaving during the course of the day, you have the opportunity to talk with the drivers and view a fabulous collection of vintage cars from the 1930’s throughout to the 1970’s. As well as all these great cars we also have a 1929’s Vintage Rolls Royce making a special appearance from Copped Hall in Epping.
At a special price of £5 adult and £3 child, this fantastic show gives enthusiasts and families alike to see the finest collection of classic cars with the backdrop of the serene and picturesque Royal Gunpowder Mills. Nature, architecture and wildlife surround the mead so there’s ample opportunity to explore what else the Royal Gunpowder Mills has on offer.
Please note that we will not be running our children’s science shows nor our family activities and crafts. But available and included in your ticket are the interactive exhibition, our introductory film, the spectacular armoury and the 1940’s exhibition. A nominal charge for our Land Train tour will take you on a guided tour of hidden parts of our 170 acre site. The Gunpowder Cafe will provide great food throughout the day. With the award of the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2016, The Royal Gunpowder Mills has the seal of approval as a fantastic day out for all.
Doors open 10am. Last Entry 3pm. Tickets can be purchased on the day or booked online at
(PLEASE NOTE: Family Activities & Professor Nitrate’s Science Shows will not operate during this event. Activities will resume for most other events in 2017– Always check the website to make sure)

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


£5.00 - Adults
£3.00 - Children


VE Weekend At The Royal Gunpowder Mills

VE Weekend

  • 29 April — 1 May 2017

VE Weekend returns with a fanfare to the Royal Gunpowder Mills May Bank Holiday Weekend transporting us back in time to experience history of 1945 coming alive.

We transform a large area of our 170 acres of woodland and parkland and dedicate it to numerous reenactors telling the tale of a WW2 land Battle. Experience the battlefield and get up close and personal to the characters, each with a story to tell.. With battle re-enactments throughout the weekend - (Check website for details)

VE Weekend also brings fantastic entertainment in the form of a 1940’s street party with food, singing, dancing and a chance to throw your steps about. Dressing up is not obligatory but it’s great fun!

BANK HOLIDAY SUNDAY & MONDAY - Enjoy a flying display as the spitfire flies above the mills! This fantastic display is one you won’t want to miss! Weather Dependant - for timings stay tuned to our social media)

Sunday and Monday the Royal Air Force will grace our skies with The Battle Of Britain Memorial Fly Pass (but subject to weather & RAF operations – stay tuned to social media)

Children help celebrations with great take-home activities to try out. Make bunting, make your own colourful flag , make luggage labels, dress up in 1940’s clothing and pop into our 1940’s dress up area where there is a chance to take selfies transported back in time.

As well as all the above, Professor Nitrate will be in the Mad Lab stirring up all types of explosions and experiments throughout the weekend plus you could try making and launching rockets as well!

There’s also our interactive exhibition, the spectacular armoury, 1940’s exhibition and ample play space all included in the price of your ticket. A nominal charge is asked for our Land Train tour which takes you on a guided tour of the hidden parts of our 170 acre site. The Gunpowder Cafe is serving up great food throughout the day. With the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2016, The Royal Gunpowder Mills gets the seal of approval from visitors of all ages!
Doors open 10am, Last Entry 3pm. Tickets can be purchased on the day or booked online at

Suitable for

  • Any age


£10.50 - Adults
£8.00 - Children
£9.00 - Concessions


Royal Gunpowder Mills
Beaulieu Drive
Waltham Abbey



General enquiries



01992 707370


01992 707372

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.